Review: Just under 12 months ago, French imprint Arpege launched with a multi-artist EP rich in far-sighted and futuristic takes on tech-house. For the follow-up they've decided to flip the script, instead offering up a quartet of electro-focused cuts. The headline attraction comes from British electro titan Carl Finlow, whose "Fmseq" is a spacey and melodious mixture of body-popping beats, throbbing bass, lilting lead lines and sparkling chords. There's plenty to set the pulse racing elsewhere across the EP though, from the heady deep space bleeps and hybrid electro/tech-house grooves of Harry Wills' "Estren", to the drowsy electronic warmth, bubbly acid bass and skittish beats of A2's "Plonk".
Review: The force is strong in this electrifying new EP from DAED, who last appeared on this label in 2017 on a VA release. There are shades of IDM to his complex synths and melodies, while kinetic broken beat drum programming powers the tracks along. The mood is melancholic on "Aria" which is so frantic it feels like it might eat itself, "Voidal" has fizzing, icy textures that will tie you in knots before "H2FSBF6" really pulls of some impressive synth acrobatics. "Ephemeris" is the warp speed closer that tarps you in a gorgeous digital world.
Review: London-based retroverts Art Of Dark return with a wicked double header here for their third vinyl release. Antonin Hifda aka Daif takes up the A side, offering up the hardcore rave reductions of "Another Version Of The Truth" followed by the deep down Detroit styled electro beats of "Devil". On the flip, it's all about newcomers DC EFX who follow through with the electro bass vibe on the absolutely booming "Expansionz", before closing with the bass-driven acid techno "The Roller Express".
Review: Ovine build on the momentum of their first EP with another new house offering that is beautifully deep. It features two tracks each from Dan Piu and Pohl, and they all hack back to dreamy Italo, classic Mr Fingers and the more pensive Chicago greats. "Depresismatica" is a real highlight with its meandering basslines and infinite cosmic horizons. "Mello Phone" offers more pixelated melodies and busy beats and "Space In The Distance" has the sort of freaky edges and dusty analog textures house lovers always fall for. Already, then, this is a label that is setting a high standard.
Review: Unlike some in the growing electro scene, Datassette has been serving up far-sighted electronic music - both club electro and what some call "IDM" - since the dawn of the century. This, though, marks his first appearance on C.P. Smith's incomparable Central Processing Unit label. It's a pleasingly varied affair, with the British producer storming between club electro/early Autechre fusion ("Kestrel Manoeuvres In The Dark"), acid-tinged, beat-free electronic symphonies ("To The Scullery!"), hard-edged and suitably intergalactic Drexciya style workouts ("Stoatle Excelsior") and sparse, glitchy electro minimalism (wonky EP highlight "Polyhedron Navigator"). Even by CPU's infamously high standards, this is a particularly fine EP.
Review: We're always keen to hear from Berlin label Vortex Traks. This 11th offering sees them eschew their recent run of Various Artists EPs to instead focus on five cuts from Datawave. The Belgian artist's sound operates in some distant galaxy, watched over by his forebearers such as Dopplereffekt and Drexciya. Crashing hits open "Implant" before a serrated lead signals ready for takeoff. The intensity only ramps up through the warp speed synths of "Immune Compound" and corrugated bass rumbles of "Hybrid Structure". "Proceed" is the most alien of the lot, and "Thin Line" closes out on a mysterious vibe that will keep you coming back for more.
Review: La dame Noir is a Marseille-based label who first crept onto vinyl with a crucial various artists release back in 2016. Now they're back with more of that noirish modern disco deviance that made them an exciting proposition first time around. "Take The Shock Away" is a bittersweet groover by Dawad and label co-founder Relatif Yann, with pitch-perfect vocals by Mounissa which sounds strong on its own. The label however has drafted in a list of big hitters to deliver remixes, from Vox Low's synthwave laced trip to Pete Herbert's punchy electro-disco burner. Whichever version you plump for, the quality is undeniable on this surefooted 12".
Review: Given the label's soulful roots, it's perhaps a little surprising to find Eglo championing a wild, wonky, machine-made EP full of angular electro, IDM, house and techno fusions from debutant Destiny71z. It's apparently the first of three EPs from the little-known producer, who used modular kit and dusty analogue gear to create his unpredictable but undoubtedly brilliant electronic workouts. We're particularly enjoying the zany Autechre-does-two-step-garage flex of "Softbeta" and the weighty, bass-powered crankiness of the artist's self-titled track ("Destiny71z"), but the jazzy, sun-bright breeziness of "Foodprogramvoltage" is also superb, and arguably more in keeping with Eglo's eclectic-but-soulful ethos. Either way, an eye-opening EP that's well worth checking.
Review: Jupiter4 is an Argentinean record label founded by Dj Loui (now based in Berlin) that has presented releases by the likes of Steve Murphy, Vin Sol and Vincent Floyd among others in the past - but it's all about him on the label's fifth release. Jam packed with tough and gritty electro jams that reek of hardware, feel the high-power sonic waves of the appropriately titled "Keep Breakbeat Evil", until he goes off-kilter with the contorted "HARDchip". Flip over for the bass heavy dystopia of "SQ80 System" on the flip, which receives a rework by one of the undisputed masters of the electro sound, Carl Finlow - respect!
Review: New label Nuances de Nuit kick off in fine style with a various artists 12" that draws on some emergent names to lay out a vision of cross-style dance music that favours the deeper end of the pool. Things get going with an organ-rich house bumper from DJ Steaw that pumps in all the right places, before Armless Kid switches things up with an untitled slice of dynamic, richly layered electro. T. Jacques thumps out a crafty, swinging cut with techy inclinations and oodles of groove, and E. Wan takes things in a more linear, deep techno direction laden with gorgeous synth work and plenty of artful effects processing.
Review: Electronic Leatherette continue their trips into the ethereal and seductive world of minimal wave with this new single from label founders Dmitry Distant and Arnaud Lazlaud. "De Ton Absence" is an artfully sculpted synth ballad bathed in reverb and Lazlaud's dreamy vocals - the end result is something both yearning and sinister, like the best minimal wave should be. On the flip, the balladry gets a shot of pure adrenaline as Timothy J Fairplay creates a taut, feisty electro belter out of the raw ingredients for a remix that should find favour with more uptempo dancefloors.
Review: After launching the Gudu label with a superb EP of her own productions, Peggy Gou has recruited Ed Upton AKA DMX Krew - one of the most reliable producers in the house and techno scene - to handle release number two. Upton is in fine form from the off, sprinting his way through the atmospheric late night chords, garage style organ motifs, bustling acid lines and jacking drums of opener "CJ Vibe". He moves further towards vintage Motor City techno territory on the lusciously melodious but percussively punchy peak-time skip of "DXIOO", before reaching for the boogie synths and proto-house drums on futurist electrofunk number "Don't You Wanna Play?". To round things off, Upton brilliantly dips the tempo and layers up spacey melodies over classic analogue bass on "110 Series".
Review: Whereas Ed Upton's previous DMX Krew album for Hypercolour explored the bittersweet world of electronic melancholia and laidback futurism, his latest full-length outing charges towards the dancefloor with a giddy grin and an adrenaline-fuelled lust for life. From start to finish, the untitled set is a throbbing rush of futurist techno, fizzing electro and muscular Italo-disco workouts, with Upton's trademark sound - think funk-fuelled synth-bass, psychedelic acid lines, intergalactic chord sequences and inspired electronic flourishes - guaranteeing countless cuts of timeless electronic music. Best of all, while most of the tracks are crying out for club plays, the album can be enjoyed as a single musical journey that stands up to repeated listens.